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Lettings Regulations explained – what to expect from the new procedures

Formerly, a general lack of regulation in the lettings industry has resulted in some tenants and landlords falling foul of unscrupulous methods, with a reported 40% of letting agents failing to sign up to self-regulation.  The recent changes to the laws governing the lettings industry have stated that, going forward, all lettings agents will be required to register with an Ombudsman, the objective being to uphold best practice and to ensure than both tenant and landlord are better protected.    

Under the new regulations, failure to register with an Ombudsman can potentially result in civil or criminal penalties for agents.  It is believed the amendments will come into force in autumn of this year.  When this is so, should tenants wish to lodge a complaint, they will be able to do so through the appropriate channels.  Prior to addressing an Ombudsman, tenants are being advised to firstly: 

– Ensure that the firm is infact registered with the Ombudsman.

– Ensure that the tenant has written in complaint to the firm in the first instance.

Under the new regulations, any complaint should be investigated within an eight week period, following which, if unresolved, the matter can be referred to the Ombudsman.  If a firm has written to a tenant and the outcome is deemed ‘unsatisfactory’, the case can again, be referred to the Ombudsman.  Sending copies of all correspondence and supportive documentation to the Ombudsman is advised.

However, there are certain matters that cannot be handled by the Ombudsman, these being:

– If your complaint is not against a registered agent.

– If your complaint is being handled by a court or similar body.

– Your complaint refers to an incident prior to the agent joining the lettings part of the TPO (The Property Ombudsman) scheme or more than 12 months before you complained in writing to the agent.

– Your complaint is referred to the Ombudsman more than 6 months following the date of the agent’s final correspondence.

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International Students set to fill UK’s Student Housing

Student HousingAny uncertainty over whether landlords of student housing would struggle to let their properties after a sharp increase in the price of Uni tuition is over, following a rise in university applications, driven by foreign students.

The number of foreign students coming to the UK is fast increasing, and over the next 10 years it is predicated to rise further. University recruiters are working hard to attract an international mix who are not put off by our high tuition costs. After all international students studying in British universities have been paying fees since the 1980s.

Many student housing landlords did have major concerns after the number of University applications seriously fell when the Government increased tuition fees to more than £9000 a year. The owners of student housing felt uncertain about whether they would continue to fill their properties year on year. However, University applications have started to rise, with a large proportion of those being from overseas students wishing to live and study here in the UK. Almost 559,000 students made applications to British universities by the official mid-January deadline, up by 3.5 per cent on the same point last year. Statistics show that numbers were being partly driven by a sharp rise in demand from foreign students, with applications soaring by almost 10 per cent.

China and Hong Kong continues to send the largest numbers of students to British universities and numbers were up by a quarter among those from Malaysia this year.

Owning and renting out your property to students both British and international is a salient way to earn steady inflation-matching investment returns. If you have a property you would like Mistoria Estate Agents to manage, we offer a tailored property management solution guaranteed to satisfy all your property requirements. We help you realise your property investment returns from day one.